Why It's Great Being an Owner in Your Design Company
We don’t talk about money very often openly in our society, and we don’t talk about what it’s like to be an owner in a company.
And one of the things we really don’t talk about?
How much more money you can make as an owner in a company.
All companies are different, and some are more profitable than others, but I’ll share an example.
One design principal I know has a base salary of $180k. But with her bonus, she can take home $300-$400k any given year.
While it’s amazing to be compensated well above what an employee makes, one of the things I love most about being an owner is that it feels like I am in charge of my own lifestyle and destiny.
If my family wants to make a big purchase, or we want to take a big trip this year, or we want to save more for retirement, I can decide how much I want to bring into the household this year and, therefore, how my business strategy needs to change.
And it’s true that there is a lot of responsibility, and sometimes I set a big goal and don’t reach it, or the strategy doesn’t work out. But it’s my responsibility, with all the freedom and agency that comes with that.
There is no cap.
For me, being an owner is about the sense of agency and power you have in terms of the work you do and what it achieves for you and others.
It means that sometimes you have to change your strategy and approach.
Want to work four days a week without a drop in income? You might have to adjust the services you offer, who you offer them to, and how you deliver them.
Want to work with a more lucrative type of client so your company can ride out the tough times better? How will you build that part of the practice?
Do your employees hate a certain part of your work process or a certain project type? How can you design it out and make their lives better?
Do you need to make a certain part of your process more efficient?
Do you want to invent a new type of service that positions you highly in the market and builds on your strengths?
The possibilities are endless.
Because this sense of agency is not just about the money, it’s about impact.
As an owner, you can change the rules of the game.
I’ve seen women leaders champion other women growing up in the firm and speak for them as future owners. They’ve crafted new initiatives and championed those of employees. They pilot things that have never been done before and change company culture.
As an owner, you and your team direct the high-level strategy and goals, and you have resources at your disposal to make things happen.
As an owner, you can change the game.